By now, most of you have heard that Christos will be moving out of the Union Depot at the end of May. While that is no longer newsworthy, it’s important to us that you, our customers, and the general public understand that this is not the result we had hoped for or anticipated.

As you know, the Union Depot underwent a major renovation just a few years ago. Christos was significantly impacted by having to shut down for five months, then go through the arduous process of refurbishing, rehiring, re-training, re-stocking, and re-certification necessary to reopen for business. Yet all of us at Christos were excited about the prospect of having a restored, up-to-date venue for our business and special events.   So was the public who came in droves to check out the finished product.

But almost from the beginning, there were issues. Our landlord went into competition with us by leasing space in the Union Depot to a group of third party “preferred” caterers. Christos was not selected to be among the preferred caterers despite its successful catering track record throughout the metro area and particularly in the Union Depot. Further, potential customers began reporting confusion when they tried to reach Christos to book an event at the Union Depot.   Customers reported disturbance of private events by the public and landlord-booked events. Christos began experiencing a sharp decline in bookings.

Along the way, Christos and the landlord engaged in lease renewal talks which we hoped would result in mutually acceptable terms. However, Christos’ banquet space of twenty years was never part of the landlord proposals despite its importance to the sustainability of Christos’ business. We knew that without banquet revenue from the high end events our food and service attracted to the Union Depot, the proposition was simply not viable financially.

For the record, we’re closing out Christos Union Depot by the book: We’ve made our last rent payment of $17,000 to Ramsey County; we’re meeting our obligations to all of our catering clients; we’re working diligently to accommodate our regular customers who are returning to enjoy their favorite Greek fare one last time; we are transferring employees to other locations if they are willing to work there; and we are certainly paying our employees and vendors every last penny owed. And finally, any gift cards purchased at the Union Depot can be redeemed at the Minneapolis or the Minnetonka Christos Restaurants.

We’ve had a very good run. We’re proud of accomplishing what appeared to be an impossible undertaking back in 1996: Breathe life back into a historic building that, sadly, had turned into a virtual morgue. In the process, we created many jobs and generated good economic activity. But the best part of the last twenty years is that we’ve made countless friends in St. Paul. These relationships are valued dearly, and we hope to maintain them as we go forward.

A very special thanks to the City of St. Paul for their unwavering support, particularly the Mayor’s Office and the Police Department. More importantly, we want to thank our employees, present and past, for their dedication and hard work. None of our success would have been possible without them. And finally, we want to express our deep gratitude to the wonderful army of customers who have stood by us faithfully over the years.